South Korea and New Zealand wrapped up their fifth round of negotiations for a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) on February 23 after a five-day run in Wellington. The latest round of talks was the first of its kind since May 2010.
The Korean trade ministry said on the same day the two sides discussed all aspects of the bilateral free trade deal, but failed to narrow the gaps in their positions on protecting some of Korea’s sensitive agricultural goods. But it added the two countries have made some progress on the service and investment markets.
Two sides agreed to continue their negotiations via unofficial channels, sharing the view that it is important to strike the free trade deal based on mutual interests. They reached a preliminary agreement to hold the sixth round of negotiations in late March or early April in Seoul.
New Zealand was Korea’s 44th-largest trade partner in 2013 with the bilateral trade volume with Korea reaching US$2.88 billion, up 2.9 percent from a year ago.